Make the Crust: • ½ cup butter (1 stick) butter, chilled and cut into large chunks
• ½ cup vegetable shortening, chilled • 2 ½ cups flour, plus at least ¼ extra for rolling • Dash of Salt • Ice water (fill a full cup but use only enough to moisten dough)
In a deep, large bowl, work the butter and shortening into the flour and salt with your hands until you have almond and pea sized lumps of butter.
Then, drizzling in ice water a little at a time, “toss” the water around with your fingers spread, as if the flour were a salad and your hands were the salad tongs. Don’t spend a lot of time mixing the dough, just focus on getting it moistened.
When the dough holds together on its own (and with enough water, it will), do a “squeeze test.” If it falls apart, you need to add more water. If it is soggy and sticky, you might need to sprinkle flour onto it until the wetness is balanced out. The key is to not overwork the dough! It takes very little time and you’ll be tempted to keep touching it, but don’t!
Now divide the dough in two balls (or three, if your pie dishes are smaller) and form each into a disk shape.
Sprinkle flour under and on top of your dough to keep it from sticking to your rolling surface. Roll to a thinness where the dough almost seems transparent.
Measure the size of the dough by holding your pie plate above it. It’s big enough if you have enough extra width to compensate for the depth and width of your dish, plus 1 to 2 inches overhang.
Slowly and gently, lift the dough off the rolling surface, nudging flour under with the scraper as you lift, and fold the dough back. When you are sure your dough is 100% free and clear from the surface, bring your pie dish close to it and then drag your dough over to your dish. (Holing the folded edge will give you a better grip and keep your dough from tearing.)
Place the folded edge halfway across your dish, allowing the dough of the half drape over the side. Slowly and carefully unfold the dough until it lies fully across the pie dish.
Lift the edges and let gravity ease the dough down to sit snugly in the dish, using the light tough of a finger if you need to push any remaining air space out of the corners as you go.
Trim excess dough to about 1 inch from the dish edge (I use scissors), leaving ample dough to make crimped, fluted edges.
Make the Filling: • 2 Lemons
• 2 cups sugar • Pinch of salt • 4 eggs • 3 tbsp flour
1 beaten egg, to brush on top crust.
Wash and dry lemons, then slice off the stem and nib on the ends.
Using a mandolin or serrated knife, slice the lemons paper thin and place in a bowl, making sure to include any juice. Pick out and discard the seeds as you work.
Add the sugar and salt to the lemons and stir.
Cover the bowl and let it set overnight at room temperature. This macerates – or softens – the lemons.
When ready to prepare the pie, beat the eggs, whisk in the flour, then stir into the lemon-sugar mixture.
Pour into the pie shell, and then cover with top crust.
Trim, seal, and crimp the edges, then brush with beaten egg and poke vent holes in the crust. (Be careful here as the liquid filling makes the crust exceptionally pliable.)
Bake at 425 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes to set and brown the crust. Turn oven down to 375 degrees and continue baking for another 30 minutes or so. Definitely bake until the middle doesn’t jiggle. I like to let this one bake until the middle puffs up a little.